Fuerteventura is a subtropical island of the Canary Islands (Spain), located in the Atlantic Ocean, about 120 km off the African coast.
The surface of the island is 1,659.74 km², the population of 116,886 inhabitants (2019). The capital of the island is Puerto del Rosario (Puerto Cabras until 1956).
From an administrative point of view it is part of the province of Las Palmas and is divided into six municipalities: Antigua, Betancuria, La Oliva, Pájara, Puerto del Rosario and Tuineje, the settlements and inhabited centers distributed among these are 67. The nearby Islote de Lobos is part of the municipality of La Oliva.
With an area of 1,659 km² Fuerteventura is the second largest island in the Canary Islands after Tenerife (which has 2,034.38 km²) and the closest to the African coasts from which it is 97 km away.
To the north-east, just 6 km away, is the small island of Lobos, whose surface is 4.58 km² and which depends on Fuerteventura.
From a geological point of view, it is considered the oldest of the Canaries. Formed from submarine volcanic eruptions, the last eruptions took place about 5,000 years ago, since then erosion has shaped the landscape that characterizes it today.
The island is located on the same latitude as Florida and Mexico and the temperature rarely drops below 18 ° C or above 24 ° C. With its 362 km of coastline, the island has more than 152 beaches along the coast: 50 kilometers of fine white sand and 25 kilometers of volcanic gravel. This particularity makes it the second island with the longest coastline in the archipelago.
Much of the interior, with its wide plains and volcanic reliefs, consists of protected areas, which can be explored by off-road or motocross bikes. The highest mountain on the island, Pico de la Zarza, is located on the Jandía peninsula and reaches a height of 807 meters.
The island's colorful past can be traced to several ancient buildings, monuments, museums and archaeological sites.
The first settlers are believed to have come from North Africa - the term Mahorero or Maho is still used today to describe the people of Fuerteventura and derives from the ancient term 'mahos' which indicates a type of goat leather shoes worn by the original inhabitants . They lived in caves and semi-underground mansions, some of which have been uncovered and unearthed, revealing the remains of ancient tools and pottery.
In ancient times the island was known, among other names, as Planaria in reference to the flatness of most of its profile or as Herbaria which probably derives from the Berber term bani which means wall. This theory is supported by the fact that when the first European colonizers landed on the island they found it divided into two kingdoms: Maxorata, ruled by the ruler Guize, and Jandía, which were divided by La Pared (The Wall), a wall of which, unfortunately, no remnants have survived to this day.
In 1405, the French conqueror Jean de Béthencourt occupied the island and gave his name to the former capital, Betancuria, on the west coast (Puerto del Rosario took its place as the capital in 1835) after occupying the neighboring island of Lanzarote. The current name of the island is believed to derive from an exclamation of Bethencourt himself: "Quelle forte aventure!" ("What a great adventure"). A less romantic explanation is that the name simply means "strong wind".
In 1424 Pope Martin V erected the short Bishopric of Fuerteventura in Betancuria, which included all the Canary Islands, except the island of Lanzarote.  The origin of this diocese is related to the events that occurred after the Great Schism (1378-1417); in fact the bishop of San Marcial del Rubicón of Lanzarote (only diocese at the time of the Canary Islands) had not recognized the pontificate of Martin V as he was a supporter of the Antipope Benedict XIII. The Bishopric of Fuerteventura was seated in the parish of Santa María de Betancuria, which had the rank of cathedral. The Bishopric was abolished, during the pontificate of Martin V, only seven years after its creation in 1433 and its territory returned under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of San Marcial del Rubicón.
In 1742 the Colonels of the Cabrera-Bethencourt family moved their permanent residence to Betancuria creating the House of the Colonels (Casa de los Coroneles) at a time when the seigniorial power was in decline, gradually assuming civil power and appointing positions public.
On December 30, 1834, the municipality of Puerto Cabras was created, independent of Tetir, and the first municipal functions began the following year. Puerto Cabras, in 1860, became the capital of the island to the detriment of Betancuria.
On February 27, 1924, the writer Miguel de Unamuno was exiled to Fuerteventura by the dictator Miguel Primo de Rivera.
In 1927, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote became part of the province of Las Palmas.
The seat of the island government (cabildo insular) is in Puerto del Rosario, a city created from the previous capital of the island, Puerto Cabras. Given the proximity to Africa, many African illegal immigrants try to enter the European Union via here after a perilous boat trip from Morocco, especially during the early 1960s.
On January 18, 1994, the SS American Star ran aground near Playa de Garcey during a storm and snapped into two stumps. In 2007 the ship crashed on its side and ended up almost completely submerged. Finally, in 2008, the wreck slipped under the surface of the water and is almost no longer visible except by diving.
Both Fuerteventura and Lanzarote were the main exporters of wheat and cereals in the central islands of the archipelago during the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; Tenerife and Gran Canaria.
The first tourist hotel was built in 1965, followed by the construction of the El Matorral airport, which marked the birth of a new era for the island. Fuerteventura, in fact, quickly became one of the main European tourist destinations.
The summer trade winds and winter tidal waves of the Atlantic make the island a year round paradise for surfers and windsurfers. Sailors, divers and deep-sea fishermen are drawn to the waters of the Atlantic, where it is easy to encounter whales, dolphins, swordfish and turtles.
Tropical products from the Canary Islands
The tropical products that can be tasted on these islands include exotic fruits, such as papaya, avocado, mango and plantain (tropical bananas), tropical fruit juices and other typical products, such as palm honey, cactus jam, banana cream. tropical Canary Islands, and also the "papas arrugadas". The name of the famous "papas arrugadas" refers to their peel marked by "wrinkles", in Spanish "arrugas". Boiled in salted water, they are served with garlic (Alioli) or spicy (Mojo picón) sauce.
Aloe vera, a tropical succulent plant native to the Arabian Peninsula, now widely cultivated by citizens, was considered sacred by the indigenous Aborigines (Guanci). The juice is considered energetic, restorative and useful against stomach pain. The gel is used in ointments to heal sunburn and to treat muscle pain, and is also used as an ingredient in beauty creams for the face and body.